Assimilation, acculturation and settling in of South African young adults to a Brisbane way of life

Assimilation, acculturation and settling in of South African young adults to a Brisbane way of life

It has been shown that the majority of those who migrate to other countries other than their own are young adults. There are various causes for this, which include moving with the parents due to work, moving to live with their partners, looking for job opportunities or going abroad to study. Individuals think that they will get a new lease of live in their host countries. However it has been shown that migration is an extremely stressful process, requiring adjustment and adaption to a new environment, society, culture, language, economic, and educational systems (Mitchelson, 2006). It is evident that Brisbane is one of the most populous cities in Australia and is often identified as a city of choice for many South African young adult migrants. The literature has shown a great settlement of South African young adults in Brisbane. The literature further showed that South African young adults apart from refugees arrived in Brisbane to take up some of the jobs that were available. Records has it that in the 2008-2009 the Australian government granted a total of 114,777 visas to foreigners under the skill stream program, this accounted for about 67.0% of the total migration program (Norris et al, 2008).
For those parents who have young adults, they are compelled to move with their children particularly if they will be working in the host country for a longer period of time. Additionally parents have the notion that this might be a perfect opportunity for his or her child to explore opportunities outside their country of origin. Additionally it emerged that in the year 2009 the permanent skilled migration program planning reduced the visa granted by about 15.0% to 115,000 from 133,500 due to economic crisis. The plans for the year 2010 had set the target for migration program to 108,100 for the skill stream (Lopez, 2005). This means that more people will continue moving to Australia and in particular Brisbane. It is worth noting that previously migration to Australia used to involve the whites and those from the Asian countries. Of late, it is evident that individuals of the African origin are flocking on to the country. The big problem with this is that very few researches have been carried out about how these immigrants from Africa and particularly from South Africa assimilate, acculturate and settle in the host country. It is against this background that the study is formed (Weinreich & Saunderson, 2003).
Purpose of the study
This research will look at how young adults, who migrated from South Africa, with high rates of violence and HIV prevalence, assimilate to the new, freer life-style in Brisbane. Scholars have noted that there is an influx of young individuals moving from South Africa to settle in Australia particularly in Brisbane. To gain more insight on this topic, issues that will be critically examined include how do migrants especially young adults settle, what challenges they face most of the times, their willingness to assimilate to their second culture since it is evident that the decision to move is more often than note of the parent and the type of intervention and services required to help these young adults to acculturate successfully.
Failure to carry out this research will mean that the gap existing in the literature about assimilation acculturation and settling of young South African adult in Australia particularly Brisbane will not be brought to light. This will be detrimental since there will be not strategies to help those who find it very challenging to assimilate successfully into their second culture.
Scope of the study
With clear knowledge that no single study can adequately address all aspects of any given topic, there is need to clearly establish what the research will address. The scope of this study thus is to critically examine assimilation, acculturation and settling of South African migrants to Australia particularly in Brisbane. This will be accomplished by critically examining the challenges they face in adapting to their new culture, their willingness to assimilate to the new culture and possible interventions that can help them to successfully fit into the new society. Additionally it was of interest to know some basic information about the young migrants such as age, education level among other.
Aims and objectives
The main aim of the study is to examine how young adults, who migrate from South Africa, with high rates of violence and HIV prevalence, assimilate to the new, freer life-style in Brisbane. The four objectives guiding the study are;
1. To find out how do migrants from South Africa especially the young adults settle.
2. To establish the challenges the young adults commonly face once they migrate
3. To examine the willingness of the young adults in assimilating to their second culture having in mind that the decision to migrate is that of the parents and not of the young adult.
To establish the type of intervention and services are required to help, young adults with acculturation.
Research questions
1. How do migrants, especially young adults settle?
2. What challenges do they commonly face?
3. How willing are the young adults to assimilate to their second culture? (As most often the decision to migrate is that of the parent and not that of the young adult).
4. What type of intervention and services are required to help, young adults with acculturation
Definition of terms
Migrating; Human migration is the movement of people from one place in the world to another for the purpose of taking up permanent or semi-permanent residence in most cases across a political boundary (Jupp, 2002).
Mixed research design: It is a kind of research approach that encompasses both qualitative and quantitative research approach.
Acculturation; has been thought of as a process of cultural and psychological changes which are experienced when two cultures meet.
Assimilation; For the purposes of this study, assimilation is defined as a process where migrants take in new information about the new culture, values, norms, beliefs among others. Ideally it has been defined as a socio-political response to demographic multi-ethnicity that supports or promotes the assimilation of ethnic minorities into a dominate culture.
Literature review
Research methodology
Methodological approach
The methodology for this research is based on the structure of methodological considerations outlined by (Saunders et al., 2007) in their ‘Onion Model’ of research philosophy. From the onion model, either an inductive or deductive approach can be taken in research; A deductive approach has been taken in this study as its findings will be compared with, and used to validate the application of theories and the findings of previous studies conducted by established academics of the field. After due consideration of the various philosophies of research, the principals of both positivism and interpretivism have been adopted for the purposes of this study. The implication of this combined approach is that both quantitative and qualitative data can be collected; allowing for both a macro and micro perspective of the subject area (Saunders et al., 2007).
This has been linked with data obtained through questionnaires and interviews. On the same note, gathering both quantitative and qualitative makes it possible for the study to quantify the issue of assimilation and acculturation of South Africa immigrants to Brisbane. Using a triangulation of research approaches will also increase the validity and credibility of the research findings (Beiske, 2002). The aim of this research is to critically examine the assimilation, settlement and acculturation of South African young adults who migrate to Brisbane.
Population of study
The population of interest in this study is all the South Africa young adults who have migrated and settled in Brisbane. This is because they were at a better position to provide the researcher with the required information. Similarly it was important to have this group of adults since it has been shown that the young adults are the ones who are adversely affected when they move to a foreign country where everything seems different from what happens back in their home countries.
Sampling strategy
The sampling strategy used in this study is careful stratified sampling. This is where specific individuals were targeted to be included in the study. The inclusion criteria was as follows, individuals must have attained the age of 18 years and have settled in Brisbane for at least one year or 12 months.
Data collection
Desired data was collected from both primary and secondary sources. The primary sources of data collection used include; interviews and questionnaires. Questionnaires were used to collect relevant personal information; I distributed them to respondents who were immigrant from South Africa living in Brisbane. Additionally interviews were used to supplement the questionnaires. There are indeed various advantages as well as disadvantages of the two methods (Creswell, 1994). For instance interviews are expensive and consumes time, to analyze the collected data is quite challenging. However it is a good approach of collecting data especially when it is necessary for the researcher to be in contact with the research subjects. On the other hand collecting data using questionnaires makes data analysis easy and one can distribute them to various individuals at the same time. Nonetheless it has no room for further clarifications.
Data analysis
Collected data were analyzed using SPSS for survey questions (Coakes, Steed & Price, 2008) and thematic and content analysis for the interview questions.
Validity and reliability
In all aspects of academic field, there is need to ensure reliability and validity while planning or interpreting the findings of other scholars. Validity has been thought of as a level of which the tool processes and what it is proposed to process. The questionnaire to be used should be effective to find out all points which are proposed in the study. Face validity and content validity are the soundness concerns most often testified in the study. Face validity essentially examine if the questionnaire appears to process the issues proposed in the study. On the other hand content validity examine if the questions are relevant and covering all issues going to be studied (Coakes, Steed & Price, 2008). All these were checked by carrying out a pilot study and relevant correction made where necessary.
The reliability is the level of stability with which tool processes. As suggested by Robison (2007), the reliability of the questionnaire means the ability to have the same result in the same situations, but from different people. Polit & Beck (2010), suggested that for one to do a stability test it is better to use test-retest approach on a part of a population. Reliability coefficients rate from 0. 00 to 1. 00, with higher values refer to how reliable the questionnaire is Polit & Beck (2008). This was accomplished through a pilot study. Additionally to ensure that validity and reliability is upheld, I sought help from expert when integrating the results particularly those from the interviews.
Ethical issues
The respondents were fully informed about the research. No one was forced to take part in the project. In the interview, respondents were told that they were free not to talk about things that he or she is not comfortable with. The researcher promised the respondents that they were guaranteed of their privacy. Additionally one was free to withdraw from the study without any intimidation.
Analysis, Results and Discussion
Data from the questionnaires
It was evident that there were no missing cases the age, the duration one has lived in Brisbane and the age of the young adult when they migrated to Brisbane. From table 1, it is apparent that individual who were 18 years were 2 representing 20.0%, 19, 20 and 21 years old had one each representing 10.0%, 3 respondents were 22 years old and 2 were 24 years representing 30.0% and 20.0% respectively. This means that individuals over 22 years were the majority young adults in Brisbane (See figure 1)
Table 1 How old are you?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid 18 2 20.0 20.0 20.0
19 1 10.0 10.0 30.0
20 1 10.0 10.0 40.0
21 1 10.0 10.0 50.0
22 3 30.0 30.0 80.0
24 2 20.0 20.0 100.0
Total 10 100.0 100.0

Consideration the gage the migrant was when they migrated to Brisbane, table 2 give a summery. Those who were 9, 11, 16, 18, 21 and 23 years are represented by 10.0% each while those who were 17 and 19 years are represented by 20.0% (see fig. 2).
Table 2 How old were when migrating”
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid 9 1 10.0 10.0 10.0
11 1 10.0 10.0 20.0
16 1 10.0 10.0 30.0
17 2 20.0 20.0 50.0
18 1 10.0 10.0 60.0
19 2 20.0 20.0 80.0
21 1 10.0 10.0 90.0
23 1 10.0 10.0 100.0
Total 10 100.0 100.0
When asked about the years the respondents have lived in Brisbane, it emerged that only those who have lived in Brisbane for 1 year were 2 (20.0%), 1.5 years (10.0%), 2 years, 3 (30.0%), 3 years (10.0%), 5 years (10.0%) and 11 years (20.0%) (Table 3, see fig. 3)
Table 3 How many year are you living in Brisbane?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid 1 2 20.0 20.0 20.0
1.5 1 10.0 10.0 30.0
2 3 30.0 30.0 60.0
3 1 10.0 10.0 70.0
5 1 10.0 10.0 80.0
11 2 20.0 20.0 100.0
Total 10 100.0 100.0
From table 4, it is evident that majority of the respondents lives with their parents wile only one each lived with a partner, siblings or roommates. Concerning ownership of the property they live in majority of the respondents indicated that their parents owned them; representing 80.0% while 10.0% each indicated that they either rented or the question did not apply in their case. When asked about the suburb the respondents live in, it emerged that 40.0% lived in Brookwater and Sinnamon Park in that order while only 20.0% lived in South Brisbane. 90.0% of the respondents indicated that they have permanent residency while 10.0% said did not have the PR. Despite having the permanent residency, most of the respondents indicated that they were not Australian citizens, 60.0%. The findings concerning whose decision it was to migrate, the study confirms that indeed the parents play a bigger role in making that decision. Parents dictated 90.0% of the move while only 10.0% was a personal decision.
When asked why they chose to live Brisbane most of the respondents indicated that parents’ work station followed by lifestyle and studies contributed to the decision of living the city. About education qualification, 50.0% were undergraduates, 30.0% were graduates and 20.0% had acquired high school education.
40.0% of the respondents were working part-time, 10.0% were working full-time while 50.0% were not working. The big portion of those not working might be explained by the difficulties of finding a job or level of education since most of them are young and do not posses post high school training. When prompted to talk about if the respondents belonged to any cultural group or organization, 60.0% stated that they did not belong to any organization, however, 40.0% were members of certain cultural organization, Hinduism and Christianity. Their membership to this group might have been influenced by the distance between where they live and the locations of these cultural organizations since 40.0% said they lived close to these organizations. It also emerged that the parents of the respondents we professional people and they secured visas purely on the basis of their skills. It was evident that all fathers were professional while a few mothers were house wives. They were allowed to settle in Brisbane since they husbands were working there.

Figure 4 Why Brisbane was chosen as a place to live in

Figure 5 Type of visa
From figure 5 it is prudent to say that majority of the respondents had a permanent residency followed by parent skill types of visas. Only a few arrived to Australia on a student visa. There was some missing data.

Figure 6 Issues encountered while settling in Brisbane
From figure 6 it is prudent to say that cultural issue was one of the serious issues facing young migrants from South Africa settling in Brisbane. Other issues included racism, different way of studying, making new friends, leaving families and friends back in South Africa. When asked about whether the respondents encountered some problems during admission, it emerged that there were some issues with regards to recognizing education certificates from South Africa, there was no direct admission till someone under goes a test and there were instances where there was problems with course compatibility. Lastly concerning problem at one, it emerged that one respondent admitted that communication was an issue while another one indicated that he could not secure a job till he acquires permanent residency.
Table 4 Frequencies of nominal scale variables
Category Percentage
Live with
Parents 70.0
Partner 10.0
Sibling(s) 10.0
Roommates 10.0
Own property
Own 80.0
Rent 10.0
N/a 10.0
Brookwater 40.0
Sinnamon Park 40.0
South Brisbane 20.0
Decision to migrate
Personal 10.0
Parents 90.0
Australian citizen
Yes 40.0
No 60.0
Permanent residency
Yes 90.0
No 10.0
Level of education
High school 20.0
Undergraduate 50.0
Graduate 30.0

Interview data
From the interviews carried out, it emerged that majority of the respondents migrated to Australia together with their parents or a sibling. On the same note, the decision to migrate was purely by their parents. However, there are instances that the decision was arrived at after the family talked about it for quite a long time. However, in situations where the respondent stated that they were not really involved in arriving at the decision to migrate, it emerged that they were too young to be engaged in such a decision. For instance, one of the respondents said, ‘I was too young by then’. On the same note it is evident that there are some young South African adults who migrated to Australia based on their own decision. For instance there is one respondent who stated that he moved to Australia in order stay with his girlfriend. Among the reason for migrating to Australia, it emerged that among the reasons for the migration include corruption, lack of job opportunities in South Africa, high rates of crime, parents working in Australia among others. On the same note it emerged that while the parents had decided to move to Australia, they had in mind that their children will acquire good and quality education, lifestyle, secure a god job and led better lives as compared to those back in South Africa. When asked about whether the aspirations have been mate, it came out clearly that most parents who have come to Australia have strived so much to ensure that their children meet their aspirations by getting them to good school among others things. Later on the individuals’ graduate and secure jobs although getting a job emerged not being an easy task (Tartakovsky, 2010).
For those who moved based on their own decision, it was indeed difficult not only for them but parents, siblings and friends to see them leaving South Africa. It was painful to leave behind those one cherished, loved and did a lot of things together.
When asked about education and work experienced, it came out clearly that majority of those who came to Australia had acquired some knowledge and post high school education. Most of them had a bachelors or a certificate. On the same note, those who are graduates have once worked back in South Africa. For instance one of the respondent states that he has once worked with an Price Water Cooper as an accountant and later as a personal assistant to his mother. Those who are younger when they migrated had no work experience and only had acquired high school education. It also came out very clearly that there are some individuals who have gone back to their country. During the short time they are back to South Africa they try to meet their friends, and members of the extended family. However it seems that even for a period of 5 years, it was still not possible to meet all of them. While in Australia, there are those who are members of a social group or organizations while some have not yet joined any. For those in the universities, especially those in collages that are multicultural, there are social events or activities that play an integral role in ensuring that new immigrants get along successfully. Those who did not join any social group seemed to either lazy, shy or unwilling (Tartakovsky, 2010). On the other hand those who were members of a social group or organization found it easy to associate with others. For instance one of the respondents said that while he engaged in playing football which he did twice a month, he got the opportunity to meet new friends. However, it is worth noting that although he used to play soccer twice a week back in South Africa, he only got a chance to play it twice a month in Australia. However, individuals while living in Australia find that they miss the beautiful scenery of their country. This is in line with the existing literature that the country is bestowed with a host of good scenery. Among them include beautiful beaches, mountains among others.
Additionally it came out clearly that most of these young adults miss also the socialization process in South Africa, the festival carried out where members of extended family during such holidays such as Good Friday Christmas among others they claim helped them experience their culture among others (Lau, 1990). Although some members were part of some social organization in Australia, there exist some differences in the way things are done. For instance in the temple, while in South Africa, people fast for a week while in Australia people fast for only one day. When individual go for dinner with friends, family members and group members, this offers individuals a perfect opportunity to socialize accept the differences in culture, norms and beliefs. These young adults are more often than not invited into various social events such as weddings, engagement among others. Although the interviewees indicated that they talk and understand English back in South African and even it Australia, it emerged that there were slight difficulties in understanding the accents; however, communication was not a barrier (Tartakovsky, 2010).
When asked about their wiliness to help their counterparts to successfully assimilate into the new culture, all the interviewees were indeed willing to help. This can be attributed to the fact that when some of them came to Australia, they were helped a great deal by relatives, friends from South Africa as well as friend from other cultural background (Gungor, 2011).
Other problems faced by new immigrants include different methods of testing in schools, changing school from a mixed school to girls’ school or boys’ school. It has also come out very clearly that there are challenges when it comes to joining institution of learning. There are instances that academic certificates from South Africa are not recognized, similarly there are some school which need immigrants to sit for a test before being admitted. Other issues included finding some specific commodities particularly food stuff and garments. However, with time, the interviewees indicated that they get used to everything including clothing and food among others. It is worth mentioning that it was indicated that these commodities are expensive.
Although the country is deemed safer than South Africa, one respondent indicated that he usually ensures that before going out, his room is looked and everything is ok. Additionally to ensure that one does not get problems, there is need to avoid roaming the streets in the nights. However, there are those who held a different view claiming that they would do whatever they want and get back home at whatever time since crime rates in the country were too low and they needed not to worry (Gungor, 2011). When asked about informing their parents and friends when they go out, all interviewees indicated that it was necessary to inform those they loved about their whereabouts so that incase anything happens, it would be easier for them to be traced. The interviewees stated that the public transport in Brisbane is effective and safe. However it is expensive compared to South Africa. It was also clear that most of the interviewees were club goers. Amazingly, they strongly believed that there was nothing conflicting in to their cultures whenever they are in the clubs. However, personal choice is important to choose a club that one wishes to go to where he or she will be comfortable, music test is similar however, there are chances that the traditional music is not present which is not a big deal. It is evident that although some individuals drunk alcohol and some drugs, very few interviewees conceded that they would keep away from drugs. One particular respondent states that if she comes across a friend using drugs, she would not report the same to the authorities.
When asked about what need to be done to help immigrants to successfully assimilate, acculturate and settle, there was need to have education programs back in South Africa so that prospect immigrants are well educated on what they expect when they come to Australia? Additionally encouraging a multicultural environment and activities that will engaged young people will help foreign immigrants. Additionally individuals need to see the migration from a positive perspective.
Conclusion and Recommendation
From the analysis, is evident that majority of the respondents were young when they moved to Australia and their parents were the one who made the decision to move. The reasons to move include getting better education, escaping the problem of corruption, high crime rates among other social ills. Parents come with aspiration for their children for instance to acquire quality education, better lifestyles, job opportunities among others. The problem these immigrants encountered ranged from leaving their loved ones, friends and members of the extended families back. Changing school was also stressful since one had to look for new friends, adapt to different testing methods, problems with admission among others. Some of the respondents had some work experience. However, those who did not have any work experience or post secondary education rests on the idea that they were young when migrating to Australia. Most of the respondent especially those interviewed indicated that they have once gone home for holidays, and it was a memorable occasion. There was no communication problem apart from issues to do with accent.
Clubbing was seen as a perfect opportunity to meet new friend, other social organizational particularly in school and even at home played a big role in ensuring that new immigrants get new friends and adapts to the new culture successfully. Family members and friends who have already settled in Australia have played an important role in helping the new immigrant to successfully adapt to the new environments. However, some commodities were found to be expensive and not available. Additionally the public transport was effective, easy to use, safe but expensive compared to South Africa. The things they missed a lot include friends, family members and the country’s’ beautiful scenery. Ideally majority of the respondents admit that they feel part and parcel of the social groups they are in. the respondents also admit that for the prospecting young Australians to successfully adapt into the new culture, they have to see it in a positive way and there is need to have an organization in South Africa that will try to educate them on numerous things such as education, culture among other things. Similarly it emerged that the entire issue is a process and keeping a positive mind is important. Very few immigrants engaged in drug use and were shy to report those who use drugs to the authorities. The willingness of the young South African adult to settle have been shown to be determined by the willingness of the new society to accepting and migration policies that support settling and assimilation. These intervention programs and services to the young adult at the host country have also shown to play a critical role at assimilating and settling.

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Figure 1 Respondents’ age

Figure 2 Age when migrating

Figure 3 Years living in Brisbane.

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